Poetry

English Year 2 Spring Poems on a Theme

Monster Poems

Using Poems about Monsters, children enjoy reading, discussing and writing poems about monsters. Revise grammatical terminology and expand noun phrases.

We recommend that you start with the core unit, the heart of this English block of study. This introduces key textual material and sets the tone for any further units you wish to teach. These can be selected on the basis of the needs of your class – look at the green icons to identify the unit’s particular focus: SPAG, Composition or Comprehension. Whichever units you choose, we suggest teaching them in order, as there is a built-in progression indicated by the numbering.

‘UNIT PLAN’ gives you a text version of all parts of the unit to use in your school planning documentation. ‘DOWNLOAD ALL FILES’ gives you that unit plan plus all of the associated documents.

Core
Unit 1 Core Unit: Read and compare poems about monsters
(suggested as 4 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
-- Give well-structured descriptions, explanations and narratives for different purposes, including for expressing feelings.
-- Use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising, imagining and exploring ideas.

Word Reading
None for this unit

Comprehension
-- Participate in discussion about books, poems and other works that are read to them and those that they can read for themselves, taking turns and listening to what others say.
-- Listen to, discuss and express views about a wide range of contemporary and classic poetry; Discuss their favourite words and phrases.
-- Recognise simple recurring literary language in stories and poetry.
-- Discuss and clarify the meanings of words, linking new meanings to known vocabulary.

Composition
-- Consider what they are going to write before beginning by: planning or saying out loud what they are going to write about.

 


-- Write down ideas and/or key words, including new vocabulary.
-- Encapsulate what they want to say, sentence by sentence.
-- Make simple additions, revisions and corrections to their own writing by: re-reading to check that their writing makes sense.

Transcription
--Form lower-case letters of the correct size relative to one another.
--Write capital letters and digits of the correct size, orientation and relationship to one another and to lower case letters.
--Use spacing between words that reflects the size of the letters.

Grammar
--Learn how to use both familiar and new punctuation correctly (see English Appendix 2), including full stops, capital letters.

You Will Need

Texts
It’s Behind You! Monster Poems by Paul Cookson and David Harmer

Poems
All by David Harmer:
It's Behind You!
Next Door
Phew!
A Million Muddy Monsters

The Beast from the Deep Abyss by Paul Cookson
There are Gribbles by Paul Cookson

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Introduce Paul Cookson and David Harmer’s collection of monster poems, It’s Behind You! and read children It’s Behind You and The Beast from the Deep Abyss. Discuss monsters the children know from books, films and songs and ask children what they think about monsters in general. Model creating a monster of your own, using evocative language to describe its appearance, movements and habits.
Activity
In mixed-ability pairs or trios, children share ideas about their own ultimate monster. They draw their monsters, referring to Carl Flint’s illustrations in It’s Behind You! for inspiration. They add descriptive captions and labels to their drawings.

Day 2 Teaching
Rereading poems from yesterday’s lesson, help children to compare and contrast poems in terms of their subject matter, tone and form. Confirm understanding of the terms verse, free verse, rhyme and rhythm. Read two new poems, Next Door and There Are Gribbles, and prepare children to discuss these poems and to compare them with one another.
Activity
Children work in ability-related pairs to re-read Next Door and There Are Gribbles. They use a poetry checklist to compare the two in terms of subject, tone and form. Some complete their work with adult input. Some extend their work and read and comment on a further poem, Phew!

Day 3 Teaching
Read A Million Muddy Monsters to children and ask class to consider which of the poems they have read and heard they have enjoyed most. Prompt children to articulate reasons for their choices. Model using notes to capture ideas about a favourite poem on a planning sheet.
Activity
In ability-related pairs, children select the poem they have most enjoyed in the Unit. With partners, they discuss why they like the poem so much and record their thoughts in note form on their Planners. Some work with adult support while others also consider which groups they think might like their poem and why.

Day 4 Teaching
Remind children of their project to write an appreciation of their favourite poem from It’s Behind You! Model converting notes and jottings into finished, punctuated sentences using best handwriting. Make deliberate errors in terms of word-spacing, capitalisation and punctuation for children to notice and correct.
Activity
Working independently or in ability-related pairs, children write their poem appreciations. They draw on their notes compiled in yesterday’s class and use their best handwriting to present their thoughts. they also use accurate sentence punctuation and careful word spacing to produce work for display. Some work with adult support.

SPAG
Unit 2 SPAG: Use different forms of sentence
(suggested as 4 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
None for this unit

Word Reading
-- Read aloud what they have written with appropriate intonation to make the meaning clear.

Comprehension
None for this unit

Transcription
None for this unit

Composition
-- Encapsulate what they want to say, sentence by sentence; re-read to check that their writing makes sense.

 

Grammar
-- Learn how to use both familiar and new punctuation correctly (see English Appendix 2), including full stops, capital letters, exclamation marks [and] question marks.
-- Learn how to use sentences with different forms: statement, question, exclamation [and] command.

You Will Need

Texts
It’s Behind You! Monster Poems by Paul Cookson and David Harmer

Poems
(All in resources)
Question Time by Michaela Morgan
Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf by Roald Dahl
When the Dinosaur Came to Stay by Martyn Wiley

Presentations
SPAG PowerPoint: Different Forms of Sentence

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Teach children the identifying features of question sentences. Model forming question marks correctly. Show how intonation changes when asking questions out loud. Identify statement sentences and confirm sentence punctuation needed to write a statement correctly. Look at how statements sound when spoken aloud. Read children Question Time by Michaela Morgan and highlight questions and statements in the poem.
Activity
Children have a set of monster pictures. They discuss questions they could pose to their monster and record these as accurately punctuated sentences. They then think of the statement answers the monster might give in reply and record these sentences too.

Day 2 Teaching
Focus on the features of exclamation sentences and their uses. Teach children when to consider using exclamation marks to punctuate exclamations. Consider intonation when reading exclamations. Read children Roald Dahl’s Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf and identify exclamations in the text.
Activity
Working in ability-related pairs, children imagine that Little Red Riding Hood’s Grandma has been eaten by a monster. They discuss and record exclamations Little Red Riding Hood might make to the monster and the statement replies the monster might make in return.

Day 3 Teaching
Teach children the identifying features of command sentences and the role of the exclamation mark in making some commands more forceful. Look at how intonation changes when reading commands. Share When the Dinosaur Came to Stay by Martyn Wiley and model augmenting the poem with commands.
Activity
Children work in ability-related pairs. They discuss commands that people might give a dinosaur if it came to stay in their home. They may use exclamation marks as sentence end punctuation for some of the commands they write.

Day 4 Teaching
Confirm children's ability to distinguish between questions, statements, exclamations and commands. Read children The Spinosaurus and note the presence of all four sentence types within the poem. Model creating a ‘monsterosaurus’ name using monster words and the -osaurus suffix. Revisit the features of standard poem presentation (initial capitals for each line, verses etc.
Activity
In ability-related pairs, children share ideas for a poem based on The Spinosaurus. They create their own monsterosaurus creature. They compose questions, statements, exclamations and commands for inclusion in their poem.

SPaG: Grammar and Punctuation

Different forms of sentence PowerPoint
Children learn about statements, questions, exclamations and commands and how to choose relevant and appropriate end of sentence punctuation.

Comprehension
Unit 3 Comprehension: Reading and understanding poems
(suggested as 3 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
-- Use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising, imagining and exploring ideas.

Word Reading
-- Continue to apply phonic knowledge and skills as the route to decode words until automatic decoding has become embedded and reading is fluent.
-- Read aloud poems closely matched to their improving phonic knowledge, sounding out unfamiliar words accurately, automatically and without undue hesitation.
-- Read words containing common suffixes.

Comprehension
-- Discuss the sequence of events in poems and how items of information are related.
-- Discuss and clarify the meanings of words, linking new meanings to known vocabulary.
-- Answer and ask questions.
-- Explain and discuss their understanding of poems, both those that they listen to and those that they read for themselves.

 


-- Recognise simple recurring literary language in stories and poetry.
-- Recite some poetry, with appropriate intonation, to make the meaning clear.
-- Participate in discussion about books, poems and other works that are read to them and those that they can read for themselves.

Transcription
None for this unit

Composition
-- Write poetry.
-- Consider what they are going to write before beginning by planning or saying out loud what they are going to write about.
-- Encapsulate what they want to say, sentence by sentence.

Grammar
None for this unit

You Will Need

Texts
It’s behind You! Monster Poems by Paul Cookson and David Harmer

Poems
Watch Your Teachers Carefully by David Harmer (see resources)
Teachers After Dark by David Harmer
Get You by Brian Morse (see resources)
The Midnight Sprite by Daisy Cookson and Paul Cookson
Monsters at the Door by David Harmer
Worse Than Half a Maggot by Paul Cookson
Be Wary of the Werewolf Wild by Michaela Morgan (see resources)
The Snow Monster by John Foster
The Grumposaurus by Brian Moses (see resources)
Other poems (see resources)

Group Readers
In Every Corner by Ruth Merttens and Anne Holm Petersen

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Read children two poems about monster teachers, Watch Your Teachers Carefully and Teachers After Dark. Remind children of the decoding strategies they have can use when faced with new or tricky words. Model using these strategies to deal with words in the two poems shared in class. Discuss details and events in each poem, comparing the two poem’s subjects and getting children to respond to their meaning.
Activity
Working in ability-related pairs, children read the poems Get You and The Midnight Sprite. Using provided comprehension prompts, pairs discuss the sequence of events in the poems, their details and their meanings. Some children also read The Grumposaurus.

Day 2 Teaching
Read children Monsters at the Door and look at the typical features of a poem that the piece displays. Ensure children understand the terms verses, rhythm and rhyme and can use these to describe or discuss poems read to them. Read Worse than Half a Maggot and introduce children to the idea of ‘free verse’.
Activity
In mixed-ability pairs or small groups, but with at least one stronger reader per pair or group, chn rotate through a carousel of monster poem reading-related activities. They read Be Wary of the Werewolf Wild, The Snow Monster and the Hamilton Group Reader, In Every Corner. They compare each against a provided checklist of the features of poetry.

Day 3 Teaching
Show children Lost or Found posters for missing pets and then read the humorous poem, Lost and Found. Briefly explore content and form in the poem before composing a Lost poem of your own for children to use as a model in their independent writing. Help children to find ways to create rhyme in lines of poetry.
Activity
In ability-related pairs, children write either a Lost or a Found poster poem of their own. Some will write both. Children include rhyme where they can in their lines of poetry.

Group Readers

In Every Corner
There are friendly monsters hiding in the corners of this delightful book getting up to all sorts of things. This lovely story provides opportunities for looking at rhyme and a range of sentence punctuation.

You can purchase printed copies of this Group Reader from Hamilton Education.

SPAG
Unit 4 SPAG: Expanded noun phrases
(suggested as 3 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
None for this unit

Word Reading
None for this unit

Comprehension
None for this unit

Transcription
None for this unit

Composition
-- Consider what they are going to write before beginning by planning or saying out loud what they are going to write about.

 


-- Encapsulate what they want to say, sentence by sentence.

Grammar
-- Learn how to use expanded noun phrases to describe and specify [for example, the blue butterfly].
-- Learn the grammar for year 2 in English Appendix 2; some features of written Standard English.
-- Use and understand the grammatical terminology in English Appendix 2 in discussing their writing.

You Will Need

Texts
It’s Behind You! Monster Poems by Paul Cookson and David Harmer

Poems
The Glamdrack by Robin Mellor (see resources)
The Alien by Julie Holder (see resources)
The Truth About the Abominable Footprint by Michael Baldwin (see resources)

Presentations
SPAG PowerPoint: Expanded Noun Phrases

Group Reader
In Every Corner

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Read children the Hamilton Group Reader, In Every Corner. Using the SPaG: Noun Phrases PowerPoint, teach children to identify and use expanded noun phrases using adjectives and adverbs. Model writing descriptive lines about a monster from In Every Corner using adjectives to modify, extend and clarify nouns.
Activity
Children work in ability-related pairs. Pairs read either a short text about monsters or a set of ‘monster words’. They distinguish between the nouns and adjectives they find. They then write expanded noun phrases or sentences of their own. More confident writers will also use adverbs to do this.

Day 2 Teaching
Briefly review children’s understanding of the role of nouns and adjectives in expanded noun phrases and then use the PowerPoint to teach children about prepositions and prepositional phrases. Read poem The Glamdrack and identify the prepositional phrases used by the poet. Model writing sentences of your own that include a variety of prepositional phrases.
Activity
In ability-related pairs, children read short phrases and sentence starters and highlight prepositional phrases. They also add prepositional phrases of their own. Some also add adjectives and adverbs to further expand the original noun phrases.

Day 3 Teaching
Share poem The Alien with the class and identify the adjectives, adverbs and prepositional phrases employed by the writer. Model creating your own poem based on The Alien, showing how you create vivid descriptions of the alien’s appearance and actions through the use of expanded noun phrases and prepositional phrases.
Activity
Working in ability-related groups or pairs children share ideas for and then write out their own alien poems. They use adjectives in expanded noun phrases and prepositional phrases to do so. Some also use simile comparisons in their poem and add rhyme to their verse if they wish.

SPaG: Grammar and Punctuation

Expanded Noun Phrases PowerPoint
Children learn how to use adjectives and prepositions in expanding a noun phrase.

Group Readers

In Every Corner
There are friendly monsters hiding in the corners of this delightful book getting up to all sorts of things. This lovely story provides opportunities for looking at rhyme and a range of sentence punctuation.

You can purchase printed copies of this Group Reader from Hamilton Education.

Composition
Unit 5 Composition: Write own monster poem based on those read
(suggested as 4 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
-- Listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers.
-- Give well-structured descriptions, explanations and narratives for different purposes, including for expressing feelings.
-- Use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising, imagining and exploring ideas.
-- Speak audibly and fluently with an increasing command of Standard English.
-- Participate in discussions, presentations, performances.
-- Select and use appropriate registers for effective communication.

Word Reading
None for this unit

Comprehension
-- Continue to build up a repertoire of poems learnt by heart, appreciating these and reciting some, with appropriate intonation to make the meaning clear.

Transcription
-- Form lower-case letters of the correct size relative to one another.
-- Start using some of the diagonal and horizontal strokes needed to join letters and understand which letters, when adjacent to one another, are best left un-joined.

 


-- Write capital letters and digits of the correct size, orientation and relationship to one another and to lower case letters.
-- Use spacing between words that reflects the size of the letters.

Composition
-- Write poetry.
-- Consider what they are going to write before beginning by: planning or saying out loud what they are going to write about.
-- Writing down ideas and/or key words, including new vocabulary.
-- Encapsulate what they want to say, sentence by sentence.
-- Make simple additions, revisions and corrections to their own writing by evaluating their writing with the teacher and other pupils.
-- Read aloud what they have written with appropriate intonation to make the meaning clear.
-- Re-read to check that their writing makes sense.
-- Proof-read to check for errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation [for example, ends of sentences punctuated correctly.

Grammar
None for this unit

You Will Need

Texts
It’s Behind You! Monster Poems by Paul Cookson and David Harmer

Poems
The Secret Monster by David Harmer
What Is It? by David Harmer

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Read children The Secret Monster by David Harmer (It’s Behind You! p59). Question children on the poem’s format, content and themes and ask them to make links between it and other monster poems they have read and heard. Prompt children to consider what it would be like to have a benevolent monster of their own, and what they would do with it.
Activity
In mixed-ability pairs, children use talk to describe their perfect ‘secret’ monster to one another. They use provided discussion prompts to guide their conversation. They finish by telling one another where they would hide their secret monster. Partners feed back their friend’s suggestion to the rest of the class in the Plenary session.

Day 2 Teaching
Read class What Is It? by David Harmer (It’s Behind You! p 35) and get children to look closely at the poem’s structure, rhythm and rhyme pattern, in particular asking them to identify where the poem uses comparisons to describe its monster. Model drafting a new version of the poem.
Activity
Children work in ability-related pairs to draft their own version of What Is It? They decide what kind of box their monster will be hidden in and use writing frames to capture ideas for their poem.

Day 3 Teaching
Re-read What Is It? before modelling the writing-out of a best-copy version of your draft poem. Teach any relevant letter forms and/or handwriting joins along with correct word spacing in order to prepare children for producing their own ‘best’ versions. Make clear the importance of good handwriting for pieces of poetry to be read aloud to an audience.
Activity
Children work independently and convert their draft poems into completed best-copy versions, using really good handwriting to do so. They continue to amend their poems as they write in order to further improve quality. They re-read their work to check that it makes sense and fulfils expectations.

Day 4 Teaching
Show children video excerpts of ‘monster poet’ John Foster reciting his poems. Establish criteria for successful recital and/or performance of poetry and model using these to effectively read aloud your version of What Is It? Teach the need for correct speed, volume, diction and intonation in performances and reading.
Activity
In mixed-ability pairs, children rehearse reading their completed What Is It? poems aloud. They then recite their poems for a small audience. During the session and later, they learn their poems off by heart.